A television network tried to tackle religion once again, with the same old results.

NBC’s controversial program, “The Book of Daniel”, about an Episcopal priest named Daniel Webster who is a pill-popper with a drunken wife, drug dealing daughter, gay Republican son, and bisexual aunt, has been canceled.

You just can’t make a show about “Any family USA” these days, can you? Once again, middle America gets a slap in the face.

Jesus was also a recurring character on the program. It’s really too bad that the program was canceled before NBC could produce the obligatory “tonight, on a very special ‘Book of Daniel’” episode where Jesus confesses his bulemia to his psychologist (Randolph Mantooth).

Goodbye to yet another shot at a fictional television program revolving around religion. Networks have tried it before, with hideous results. The more recent have included “Jesus: The Miniseries” and “Noah’s Ark“, which struck a factual iceberg and sank off the coast of Artistic License.

Why are so many of these movies and shows so wildly off-base and borderline insulting to any Christian?

When you consider how many of these shows come to be, it isn’t surprising. This is why Mel Gibson avoided any big production companies when he made “The Passion of the Christ“, but the money made by “The Passion” lures others, who should avoid it, into the genre.

At this very moment, a conversation is taking place somewhere near Hollywood. A large production company is putting together a film that we’ll call “Jesus: The TV Show”. The planning is going something like this:

A producer’s phone rings and a speakerphone button is pushed.

“Mr. Hollywood here. Talk to me!”

“Hi, Mr. Hollywood. It’s Joe Screenwriter. We’ve finally started production on the ‘Jesus’ show, and I thought you’d want to hear the finished script Rubenstein and I came up with.”

“Sure. Who do we have playing Jesus, anyway?” Mr. Hollywood asks.

Papers flip, then Screenwriter says, “Matthew Perry has agreed to do it.”

“Dennehy,” Mr. Hollywood wonders. “What happened to the Brian Dennehy deal?”

“Well, everything was fine until Mr. Dennehy put on the sackcloth robe for run-throughs. I don’t know much, but I do know that Jesus shouldn’t have plumber’s crack.”

There is a long pause as Mr. Hollywood thinks. Joe Screenwriter can hear a pencil tapping on a pad of paper. “OK, Perry’s fine. Why don’t you let me hear the outline of the script you’re working from … and the Cliff’s Notes version. I’ve got to go bail out Winona Ryder again. Good Lord, how many Saks blouses does one woman need?”

“Not sure, sir,” says Screenwriter as he picks up his rough draft for “Jesus: The TV Show,” flips in a few pages and begins the outline.

“In the first scene, Jesus is born, but He’s not the person everyone thinks. He’s actually the son of Hebrew slaves. His mother, Jochebed, played by Shelley Long, is …”

“Wait,” Mr. Hollywood interjects. “Are you getting your stories mixed up? Wasn’t the mother of Jesus named Mary?”

“No, I think that was Job’s mother.”

“Oh.”

“Anyway,” Screenwriter continues, “after Shelley gives birth to Jesus, she puts the kid in a basket and sends Him down the river.” Screenwriter flips a page. “At this point we’re having a little subplot involving a love affair between two characters named Matthew and Sheena. Matthew is a stone carver and Sheena is his lover who, while Matthew’s away carving stones, decides to explore her own homoerotic fantasies with her neighbor. Ann Heche is playing the part of the neighbor.”

“I hear Heche is a complete nut job.” Mr. Hollywood points out. “Can we work with her?”

“I’ll put it this way,” Says Screenwriter, “We could have spent $4 million to get Heather Graham, but Heche would take the part as long as we agreed to give her $50 in euro coins, a gumball machine and have a priest from the Raelian cult grant her eternal youth.”

“I’ll take a bargain over stability any day,” points out Mr. Hollywood, as he sits back in his chair and takes another puff on a cigar. “Go on, Screenwriter.”

“To make a long story short, the polar ice caps melt due to global warming, which was induced by severe ozone depletion caused by Bethlehem’s Republican mayor having months earlier lifted the town’s long-time ban on leaf burning. The melting ice caps flood the planet, and this prompts a guy named Jack to build an ark.”

“Jack’s Ark?” Mr. Hollywood questions sarcastically.

“The name ‘Noah’ tested horribly in focus group,” Screenwriter quickly explains.

“Gotcha,” Mr. Hollywood shoots back.

“So,” Screenwriter continues, “the boat gets built, and Jack, the two lesbians and a bunch of animals float around for a while, get their shirts wet a lot, and make shallow and mindless social commentary in a cheap attempt to forward a liberal Hollywood political agenda.”

“When does Jesus come back into play here?” asks Mr. Hollywood.

“Down the line a bit, when the people on the Ark discover Him still floating in the basket and pull Him on board. Also, in sticking to the literal interpretations of the Bible, we’ve got Jesus feeding five loafers with two fishes, inheriting the earth from the meek and stuff like that.”

“I love it!” opines Mr. Hollywood. “It’s absolutely brilliant! OK, hit me with the ending.”

At that moment, a janitor, who had been outside the door listening, angrily barges in and puts forth a plea: “Have Jesus sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate and led to a cross to be crucified. The last scene should be of Jesus being resurrected three days after His death and ascending to heaven to act as Savior for all mankind.”

“Buddy,” says Mr. Hollywood, motioning toward the door, “in this business, we deal with facts. You do your job, we’ll do ours.”

—–

Note: There’s a lengthy discussion thread which was started by somebody posting this article over at Free Republic. No tears over the cancellation from the Freepers.

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